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I was lucky enough to see Ornette Coleman at Town Hall last Friday, and as expected it was exceptional. It was remarkable at the begining to compare his frail, barely audible vocal introduction and his stunningly rich tone, nearly undiminished. His quartet (drums/upright bass/electric bass) was equal to his playing, completing compelling rearrangements of everything from the prelude to Bach’s Cello Suite #1 (with Ornette on sax, violin, and briefly trumpet) to Dancing in Your Head. It always amazes me to see improvisation at that level of intellect and musicality, tight and empathetic while also freewheeling. (The same band can be heard on Sound Grammar, about which I’ll echo Fred Kaplan.)

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